Pagan Studies


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Studies Blogs

Advanced and/or academic Pagan subjects such as history, ethics, sociology, etc.

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Okeanos: The Waters Above

The most ancient Greek gods, the gods before the Olympians, are less anthropomorphic than we are accustomed to thinking of Greek gods as being.  They are huge and impersonal; more places or states of being than they are people.  Just as Gaia is the Earth, and Tartarus is both the Underworld and the Lord thereof, Okeanos, the eldest of the Greek water gods, is place and god and archetype rolled into one.  Some say he is the firstborn son of Gaia and Uranus, but in other tales, he self-created, like Gaia, arising out of primordial Chaos before time began.  

Okeanos is the great river (some say sea) that encircles the world, the source of all water on earth, from icebergs to rivers to the great seas, and even the clouds full of rain above.  The sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars all lie inside his embrace.  From his eastern reaches, the sun daily rises, and into his western waters it recedes at night.  He is the outer boundary of the universe; beyond him, there is only chaos and void.  Okeanos represents the boundary between the known and the unknown.  Originally, some scholars say, he was represented by the Mediterranean, with Poseidon the god of the Aegean.  Over time, as Greek navigational technology improved, and their geography became more accurate, he expanded to the Atlantic. He is the ever-expanding liminal zone between known and unknown. He is that place of which we say "here be dragons". Today, he is the depths of outer space.  However, it is important to remember that he is not a personification of any place in our world, because he is not fully of our world at all.  Like Tartarus, he stands at the boundary of our world and the Other Place.  In battles for supremacy on Earth, such as that between the Olympians and the Titans, Okeanos stays neutral.  And yet, he is the protector and defender of life on earth, standing guard between us and the Outer Darkness.

Thales, whom Aristotle calls the Father of Science, taught that Okeanos (here not just the mythological figure, but Archetypal Water) was the source of all that is.  Aristotle tells us that “Thales, the founder of this type of philosophy, says the archê (first principle) is water, for which reason he declared that the earth rests on water, getting the notion perhaps from seeing that the nutriment of all things is moist, and that heat itself is generated from the moist and kept alive by it (and that from which they come to be is a principle of all things). He got his notion from this fact, and from the fact that the semina (seeds, also semen) of all things have a moist nature, and that water is the origin of the nature of moist things.   Some think that even the ancients who lived long before the present generation, and first framed accounts of the gods, had a similar view of nature; for they made Okeanos and Tethys the parents of creation...”

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs

Hello, and welcome to my new blog “Myth Maker: Modern Mythopoeia.”

In the next post, I’ll get to the meat of this blog, introducing you to a variety of lesser-known spirits from around the world and telling you the stories and teachings they tell to me. But I thought I’d start off by talking a little about mythopoesis as an art and a magical practice. The English word mythopoesis comes from the Greek μυθοποιία, and literally means “myth-making.” The second part of the word, “poeia,” is the root of our word “poet.”  Historically, the word was an obscure technical term, describing, as Victorian historians would tell it, that period of time when humans made myths “instead of science” to explain the world around them. However, in 1931, J. R. R. Tolkien (author of The Lord of the Rings) published a poem titled Mythopoeia, which was a direct response to his frenemy and Oxford colleague C.S. Lewis’s skepticism about the value of myth.  Lewis (at the time, although his views softened with the wisdom of age) believed that  myths are "lies and therefore worthless, even though 'breathed through silver.”'  Tolkien's poem replies...

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  • Sarah Keene
    Sarah Keene says #
    One of the best explanations for the importance of myth that I have read comes from the Discworld novel Hogfather by Terry Pratche
  • Sara Mastros
    Sara Mastros says #
    Sarah: That's lovely! Thank you for sharing it.
Limitations of the Christian Trinity (God as Mother)

As promised, an excerpt from my paper on the Christian Trinity. A few things to consider:

 

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  • Karen Nolan
    Karen Nolan says #
    Really enjoyed reading this -- more people, especially Christians, should truly, deeply wonder how Mary felt in giving life to Jes

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

 

I've been considering the question of why so many people who matured physically and mentally decades ago, never managed to grow up emotionally. This seems to be especially true of the demographic in which I was raised – the exciting and neurotic world of actors, dancers, musicians and writers.

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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    How delightful to hear from you, Ron! Nora (a.k.a. Ravyn-Morgayne) and I think of you often and hope you are happy in the house,
  • Ron Williams
    Ron Williams says #
    Ted, on a completely different note, I'm still amazed that you married people in this front bedroom with green carpet! It's parti
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Thank you so much, Francesca, and I agree with you that some people use memory loss as an excuse to evade responsibility. I've se
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    I hear you. It’s amazing how we humans can turn any sound spiritual premise into an excuse for unethical action. I think it’s some
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    What a terrifically interesting essay, Ted! Your post adds some interesting thoughts regarding its topics. I have been blessed wi

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Getting Medieval

Sometimes gifts arrive in a timely manner. Just in time for the beginning of the semester, a news story broke that provided fodder for first day discussion in my medieval courses: Pagans demand return of church buildings 'stolen' 1,300 years agoUsually it's great when the news covers the Middle Ages because it makes the period seem more relevant to my students who generally think things that happened a couple of decades ago are 'ancient' already.

This news item gave me a chance to say yes, it was the practice to 'repurpose' temples: we have a letter from Pope Gregory instructing an abbot to follow this advice:

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    "these modern pagans have no leg to stand on with their argument that the buildings belonged to them. The temples might just as we
  • Kate Laity
    Kate Laity says #
    There were translations of portions of the bible: King Alfred had Genesis translated in the ninth century because he was afraid of
Lakshmi’s Feet: Steps for Preserving Abundance

August, particularly post-Lughnasash, is a time when thoughts of abundance are fairly high in conscious awareness. The stalls at the Farmers Market are filled to bursting with fresh produce. Driving through the city these days – near where I live anyways – roadside produce vending stalls are popping up like Springtime dandelions. Pickup trucks with back beds filled with corn ready to sell to passing cars can be seen parked by the side of the road. The harvest is nigh and energy reverberates with the resonance of abundance.

So it was not really much of a surprise that Lakshmi showed up at the Goddess Meditation last week. Most commonly associated with abundance, Lakshmi’s influence touches on all areas of life. She is a much loved Hindu Goddess whose name appears to be derived from the Sanskrit word for “aim” or “goal”, indicating that if we want to have success (or abundance in myriad forms) in our lives, then we must have a focus.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Have You Seen Me Lately?

It has been far too long since I posted here, and I have no great excuses for that..... although I did manage to delete my entire hard drive AND Sense8 was cancelled..... so that was a perfect storm.

Although writing is a long time love of mine, painting is really my thing, although I have to write in my professional career, which also keeps me quite busy. Like everyone watching the national radar, it has been difficult keeping my spirits up, but I am blessed to belong to several communities that show me every day that there is still much to hope for.

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